Senate passes spending bill, punting shutdown threat to next week

The Senate passed a short-term spending bill Thursday that postponed the threat of this weekend’s government shutdown until later in the month, but questions remained about how Congress will fund the government through the rest of the year.

Just hours after the House passed the bill by an overwhelming 320-99 vote and a day before the federal funding package was set to expire, senators voted 77-13 to send the funding bill to President Biden’s desk. A vote was taken to request signatures.

Republican Sens. Marsha Blackburn (Tennessee), Mike Braun (Indiana), Ted Budd (North Carolina), Mike Crapo (Idaho), Ted Cruz (Texas), Josh Hawley (Missouri) ), Ron Johnson (Wisconsin State), Mike Lee (Utah State), Roger Marshall (Kansas State), Eric Schmidt (Missouri State), Rick Scott (Florida State), Tommy Turberville (Alabama) J.D. Vance (Ohio) voted against the bill.

The stopgap measure would maintain funding for departments such as Agriculture, Interior, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs, Energy, Justice, Commerce and Energy through March 8.

Lawmakers have until March 22 to finalize funding for fiscal year 2024 for the Departments of Defense, Legislature, Overseas Operations, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, National Security and Homeland Security.

The passage came a day after Senate and House leaders announced a bipartisan funding patch. This is the fourth stopgap Congress must pass for fiscal year 2024.

The stopgap measure bought lawmakers time to reach a deal on year-round funding, but hurdles remain.

House Republican leaders confirmed Thursday that bill language for the first package of six bills will be released over the weekend. This comes as budget spending heads have indicated that negotiators are close to finalizing the future minibus fleet.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.), the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, told reporters Thursday that the funding package is a “poison pill.” It’s not included,” he said.

The proposed rider included the Biden administration’s mandates on abortion access, diversity and gender identity, and a number of other policies that drew the ire of Democrats.

Hardline conservatives have stepped up their calls for Republican leadership to secure partisan policy changes in the bill amid spending talks, with House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana) calling it a “grand slam.” ”, which tempered expectations for the Republican Party.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York has repeatedly urged Mr. Johnson to ignore hardliners in his party who want to fight for additional legislation that could jeopardize the deal. .

“As I have said directly to the Speaker over and over again, the only way to get things done here is through bipartisan cooperation, and this agreement is another proof of that,” Schumer said. he said on the floor early Thursday. “We hope this sets the stage for Congress to quickly complete the appropriations process in a bipartisan manner.”

The exclusion of such policy special provisions has angered conservatives. And while spending cardinals are optimistic about the upcoming March 8 deadline, some say more work is needed to finalize the remaining six bills, which are due March 22.

Rep. Dave Joyce (R-Ohio), chairman of the subcommittee that crafts the Department of Homeland Security’s annual funding bill, told reporters Thursday that negotiations over the next plan are still “in the balance.” “There is,” he said.

He noted the difficulties faced by appropriators in trying to take what could be considered part of tougher measures after the parties came to negotiations with significantly different funding proposals. .

“Some of the dollars that we have been allocated are; [securing] “While we seek to improve the border, create more detention beds, and make better use of technology, Democrats are leaning toward NGOs to process people at the border and expedite asylum claims,” ​​he said. “There’s a bit of a dilemma there.”

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who heads the subcommittee working on the IRS funding bill, said Thursday that negotiators are still “working through numbers that have not been finalized.” But he added that Republican-backed lawmakers are still trying to defeat the measure.

Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.), who chairs the same House committee, also said negotiators still “have some issues” and are divided as negotiations continue. However, he expressed optimism about the progress made so far. .

“This has been a lot of work. It’s kind of drained the public a little bit, but I think there’s enough in this bill for us not to give up,” he said.

Just before final passage on Thursday, senators voted on four amendments. These include Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) proposal to block state debt purchases by the Federal Reserve and Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) proposal on HR2, the House’s border security bill. It also included proposals from states.

Leadership could not afford to have any of these members involved in the funding bill because it would likely force the final version to pass again in the House. The House adjourned for a week earlier that day.

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